Sunday, October 19, 2014

In Sickness and In Health by Angela Benson

October is a special month for me.  My fifth wedding anniversary is today, October 20.  And four years ago in October I completed radiation treatments for breast cancer.  In honor of my anniversary and National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I want to share with you a post I wrote in November 2011, when I was newly wed and recovering from breast cancer.  It's not a sad story, but one of hope and happiness, a real love story.  I hope you enjoy it.
"In sickness and in health"
I took those words to heart as I contemplated getting married at age 50. It didn't take much to figure out that while my hubby and I had a number of good years ahead us, we had probably lived more days than we were going to live. So when I married my husband, I was well aware that I could become his caretaker and I was willing to take that risk, and if it came to it, that responsibility. You see, his medicine cabinet contained a lot more prescriptions than mine and he's two years older so I figured if one of us became ill, it would be him. Guess what? He didn't become ill; I did.

About three months before our first anniversary, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Let that sink in: Three months before our first anniversary, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. As you can imagine, the honeymoon phase of our marriage turned abruptly into the hospital phase. A cancer diagnosis means tests, tests and more tests. It means surgeries -- first for the biopsy and then for the cancer removal. It means treatments -- months of chemo followed by months of radiation. To give you an idea of how long the process lasted, we celebrated our second anniversary a couple of weeks after my radiation treatments ended, but while I still was recovering from them. That gives you some idea of what the year has been like for us.

I have to give my husband credit and praise for the care he's taken of me---physically, emotionally, and spiritually--over the last year. I've said to him more than once -- "You didn't sign up for this, did you?" And his answer is always, "Sign up for what? You're my wife and we take care of each other." Such simple words, but you'll never know how much they've meant to me. Or how much he means to me. It's one thing to love somebody when everything is going well; it's another to love them through life's challenges. I know this is strange to say, but I think we've grown closer during the past year.

For many years, I've worn my independence as a banner. I didn't need a man to complete me. Through this past year, I've learned that it's really nice to have somebody to lean on when your own personal strength seems to be waning. I've learned what it means to work together, to sacrifice for each other, to compromise for the greater good, and to love in practical ways. Overall, I think I've learned what it means to be a wife, a life partner.

I know some of you are saying, "Well, God was with you." And, yes, He was and still is. If I weren't married, I still wouldn't be alone; I'm not denying that truth. What I'm saying is that God was gracious enough to send me someone to go through this time with me. I thank Him for sending George to me.

This has not been a year of sadness for us though. I think it has made us both more grateful that we found each other. And we've had some fun memories that we often share with a laugh. Our first visit to wig shop is one of them. The owner gave me this Farrah Fawcett thing and told me I looked gorgeous. Behind her, my husband was vigorously shaking his head, his eyes wide with alarm.

Our attempt to make our own wig out of my sisterlocks is another fun memory. George went out and bought yarn and needles and we sat down to a pile of what seemed to be hundreds and hundreds of locks. We looked at the piles, looked at each other, shook our heads, and promptly gave up on the that idea.

Then after we finally settled on a wig, my husband, eyes sparkling, looked at me and said, "I've got a new wife." Something tells me I'll be wearing wigs every now and then even after my hair comes back.

I'm now officially a cancer survivor, but hospitals and tests are still a part of our future. And testing needs to be a part of your life or the lives of people you know and love. Early detection is important so get those mammograms. As I close this post, I want to share a Breast Cancer Love Letter with you. It's written by a survivor to the women she loves. I share it with you because I love you.

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Angela Benson is the award winning and bestselling author of fourteen novels, two novellas and a non-fiction writing book.  Her most recent book is Delilah’s Daughters (Avon, 2014).  Her next book, The Summer of Me, will be released by Avon in August 2015.  While you’re waiting for Angela’s new title, be sure to check out her backlist recently released in eBook format.  Join Angela on Facebook or her website.  

30 comments:

  1. That was a lovely and touching tale of triumph, Angela. How wonderful that you've been blessed with a steadfast husband, a strong faith, and a good recovery. God bless you!

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    1. Thanks, Patricia! Every day is a blessed day!

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  2. What a lovely, inspiring story. Thanks for sharing it, and blessings to you and your wonderful husband. So happy for you that you have so much to celebrate this month!

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    1. Thanks, Ginny! George is a real gem. I think I'll keep him. :)

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  3. its a story of love and triumph. I am glad God bless you with a earthly husband during your time of need. May God continue to bless you and your family.

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    1. Thanks, Anonymous. Every day is a blessed day.

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  4. What a wonderful story! I laughed at the part about the wig and your husband shaking his head. Glad that you are now cancer-free!

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    1. LOL, Denise! The thought of me in that Farrah wig had him worried. He was entitled to one shaky moment. :)

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    1. Thanks, Melinda. Every day is a blessed day.

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  6. What a beautiful tribute to your husband and so happy you are now cancer free. Many blessings to you both.

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    1. Thanks, Shanna. Every day is a blessed day.

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  7. You found such a great guy! Hopefully the worst is behind you two now and you'll have many years on the health side to balance it out.

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    1. Thanks, Aileen. Nothing but sunny days ahead. Every day is a blessed day.

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  8. Angela, thanks for sharing your touching story.

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  9. Angela, what a moving story. May you be blessed with many healthy, joyous years together!

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  10. Happy Anniversary, Angela! I was married in October too and so was my son--it's a good month!

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    1. You've confirmed it. October is a great month!

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  11. Happy belated anniversary aunt Angie and uncle George. Your story is very uplifting and encouraging. You are very strong and a living testimony to say the least. God bless you both forever. I love you both. -Kuluana

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    1. Hey, Kuluana, thanks for stopping by. We love you, too.

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  12. Happy anniversary and thank you for sharing your story, Angela. What a wonderful testament to love and faith. Many, many blessings to you and George.

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    1. Hey, Patricia, it's nice to hear from you. Thanks for stopping by.

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  13. consider myself blessed that our paths crossed. You've always been an inspiration to me and I'm more blessed to read this testimony. I pray for the many happy days you have ahead. Now go give Mr. George a hug :-).

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    1. Hi Veronica! The blessings go both ways. Keep up the good work!

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  14. you are an inspiration. Thank you for sharing and Happy Anniversary

    cilla

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  15. Cancer makes or breaks family or friends, so glad that George is both to you. Sounds like Georgie-Pooh is a keeper:-)

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  16. Thanks, Kristi! I'm going to see George thinks of Georgie-Pooh!

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